A Casualty


You came to me with your eyes ashine
With a soldierly, careless tread.
In a khaki uniform so trim
And a new peaked cap on your head.
“I’m off to the Front, dear comrade mine;
And I’m jolly well glad to go!”
But your lips were set in a line so grim
That boded ill for the foe.

My fighting blood leaped up in pride –
You looked so British, so grand;
But my woman’s heart was vaguely stirred
As you heartily shook my hand –
Stirred with a pain I struggled to hide,
You were marching to glory – or death;
And ‘twas only God that night who heard
The tears that were choking my breath.

To-day, in letters that scorched like flame,
As I read of the toll we have paid-
The reeking horrors, the awful strife,
The crimes that will ne’er from history fade –
There leaped to my anxious eyes your name;
Died, fighting hard, as a soldier should;
Killed as a valiant deed you assayed.
I wept – but I gloried. I understood.

You called me once “Your comrade brave,”
And never, I trust, I’ll belie your thought;
But to-day far away in your nameless grave
Lies all the love that you never sought.
I know that you died for England’s sake.
Maybe – I know not – ‘tis better so.
I do not murmur; but should there break
A heart to-night – only God will know.

Miriam E Gladwell

Thanet Advertiser October 1914

Miriam E Gladwell was a Ramsgate poet, well-known to the concert-going public in the town and district, who had made many successful appearances on the platform as an elocutionist of merit, and was always available for the organisers of charity events. In October 1916 the Thanet Advertiser published a book of her poems called “In War Time,” which was followed by another volume in December 1917.

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